Origin 8 F1 Folding Bike Test—Simple Fun.
Folding bikes continue to jump in popularity every day. I’m sure you have a couple tucked away in your closet or trunk ready to ride when the urge hits. Wait, you don’t have a folding bike to ride? Why not? Too complicated? Too expensive? Well, this Origin 8 F1 folding bike just might be the one you’ve been looking for. Simple (single speed coaster brake with no cables), inexpensive and just plain fun.
And more than just fun, a bike like this can make life so much easier. A quick errand or visit can bring a smile instead of gridlock. Parking a issue for work or play? Just bring your folder along, park in the free zone, pedal the rest of the way. When you arrive you have the bike to get you around, or a fast fold and it can come inside wherever you go. If you live or work in a multi-story building, it can ride up the elevator for safe stowage until you are ready for the next trip.
I rode this F1 at Ivan Stewart’s Electric Bike Center. They mostly specialize in E-bikes, but also like to cater to people with commuting and bike storage issues. In addition, they have R/Vers, boaters, and private airplane pilots in mind as people who could use a folding bike to make life more fun and convenient. I was glad to hop on the saddle and try it out so I could tell you what I thought about it.
This aluminum framed bike has a classic look to it. It has other aluminum parts too, but they speced a steel fork to give it a stout feel that can handle riders up to 250 lbs. It offers a pleasant upright seating position and is comfy to ride. The Kenda tires felt good, those and the alloy rims help to keep this bike in the 24 lbs. range so it is easy to carry when needed. The plastic pedals also fold to help it shrink to a very small size.
It couldn’t be any easier to ride. There are no hand brakes or gear shifts. Just pedal to go, and use the coaster brake (back pedal) to stop. It handles well and the short wheelbase really allows you to dodge obstacles on the bike path (other riders, people, and pets), and take to the open road too. This is not a touring bike by any means, but feels great on city streets or deserted back roads. I zipped around the streets there in Little Italy (San Diego) and had great fun doing it.
The Origin 8 folding bike I rode is becoming last year’s model. This summer the new line-up will be introduced and distributed to their line of dealers. This F1 is a single speed, and a 3-speed (F3) and 7-speed (F7) are also part of their folding bike offerings. I understand the F7 comes with a set of fenders, and those can be purchased separately for this bike if you feel the need. It will be interesting to see this year’s bikes, note any improvements made, and give them all a go. I love folding bikes.
The fold of the F1 is fast and easy. The frame folds in half, the handlebars fold down, and each pedal has a pivot (fold) to make the package even narrower. The extra long seat post (for tall riders) slides down in the seat tube to reduce the folded size and hold the bike up-right when folded. The handle bar stem has a height adjustment to fit riders of all sizes.
It includes a kickstand and a chain ring guard (not a chain guard) to help keep your pants clean. There is also a spot to bolt on a water bottle cage. The gel grips have a good feel while you bang around the back streets in town. So to does the saddle. It is small in size, but big in comfort. I felt like I could have ridden this bike for a lot longer than the hour I did.
Now this bike does have a few drawbacks. Climbing steep hills and high-speed charges are (very) limited with the single-speed drive train. There is some flex in the handlebar and stem. The frame and handle bar folding clamps are not as beefy and strong as some other folding bikes on the market. Of course, these comparisons are against bikes with price points two or three times and higher than the Origin 8 F1. For what this folder is going to set you back, it is a super little bike.
You can get folding bikes that cost thousands, and each one has its place. This F1 is designed to be handy, simple, fun and get you around without hassle. It can be kept ready to ride in so many places due to its small size. The low cost will add to your smile as it transports you around campsites, small airports, and tight city streets. As much as biking is about fun— saving money, being healthy, and helping our planet figure in just as strongly.
Plus, add in the factor of a folding bike and all the ways it can make you life simpler, and you have a winning strategy. You just can’t lose with a fun, inexpensive bike like this Origin 8 F1 folder. So, next time I ask, are you going to have a couple of these in your closet or trunk? I hope so.
Unfold and ride your bike, Turbo Bob.
“A bike can be an important appurtenance of an important ritual. Moving the legs evenly and steadily soon brings home to the bike rider a valuable knowledge of pace and rhythm, and a sensible respect for timing and the meeting of a schedule. Out of rhythm comes many things, perhaps all things.”—William Saroyan, The Bicycle Rider in Beverly Hills.
Link to the Origin 8 website.
I didn’t see their folding bikes here, but any questions can be emailed to Meagan.
Her address in in the contact section. She is very helpful.
Link to Ivan Stewart’s Electric Bike Center